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State Aid

PR(07)58: The EFTA Surveillance Authority opens investigation regarding the Norwegian support scheme for alternative, renewable heating and electricity saving measures in private households


The EFTA Surveillance Authority has today decided to open a formal investigation regarding the implementation of an aid scheme for alternative, renewable heating and electricity saving measures in private households.

By letter dated 13 October 2006 Varmeprodusentenes Forening filed a complaint against Norway. 

The support scheme is financed over the State budget. The scheme covers the following heating technologies: pellets stoves, pellets boilers, heat pumps in waterborne heating systems and electronic control systems for electric heating systems. Other heating technologies/methods such as environmentally friendly wood-burning stoves are not covered by the scheme.

The scheme is targeted at private households, which can apply for refunding of maximum 20% of documented and eligible costs, limited to 4000 NOK for pellets stoves and electronic control systems, and 10 000 NOK for heat pumps and pellets boilers.

Based on the information submitted by the Norwegian authorities, the Authority has doubts with regard to whether the scheme constitutes state aid. The support to private households may confer an indirect economic advantage upon the producers and importers of the heating technologies covered by the scheme, and thus put them in a more favorable position to the detriment of other producers and importers of environmentally friendly heating systems. If the scheme should be considered to contain state aid, the Authority has doubts with regard to the compatability of the aid with the EEA Agreement. 

A decision to open the formal investigation procedure is without prejudice to the final decision to be adopted by the Authority. The opening decision will be published in the EEA Section of the Official Journal of the European Union and the EEA Supplement thereto, inviting interested parties to comment within one month from the date of publication. The Authority will take its final decision after having reviewed comments from the Norwegian Government and from any other interested parties.    

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Håkon Cosma
National Expert, Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel. (+32 (0)2 286 18 18

19 December 2007

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